On December 7, 2023, the European Commission published a proposal to reform outdated rules EU for the transportation of live animals. In connection with the release of this document, the European division of the society “Compassion in World Farming and Eurogroup for Animals” issued the following press release.
The commission’s proposal includes slightly stricter requirements for transporting animals, including new provisions to reduce the time of some trips and limit the transport of vulnerable animals such as cubs and heavily pregnant animals. However, this will lead to unregulated duration of sea voyages, lax temperature restrictions and new loopholes created by poor and missing definitions. Compassion in World Farming believes that these provisions are insufficient to prevent some of the worst cruelty to which animals are subjected during transport and will not significantly reduce suffering.
And while the bill shows some limited ambition to push EU standards in the right direction, it will roll back some existing rules and it is simply not enough to end the suffering of millions of live EU animals transported on long journeys each year.
Just last week, Compassion in World Farming and Eurogroup for Animals released a new report revealing the scale of suffering caused by the unnecessary trade in live animals in the EU. A “suffering data dump” reveals details of the true horror experienced by some 44 million EU farmed animals during horrific journeys lasting up to three weeks. It also showed that misleading official EU reports and a lack of enforcement are masking the true extent of animal suffering.
While we welcome these proposals, as well as another companion animal law proposed today, the commission has failed EU citizens by failing to deliver the comprehensive animal welfare reforms it promised. These included a clear commitment to ban caged animals following a European citizens’ initiative signed by 1.4 million that was derailed after an attack by the factory farming industry.
Olga Kikou, head of Compassion in World Farming EU, said: “The draft EU Animal Transport Act shows some desire to improve animal welfare rules in the EU, but it clearly lacks ambition. The commission is not proposing to ban the export of live animals, which is exactly what other lawmakers are moving towards – restrictions have already been passed in Germany, Luxembourg and New Zealand, and hopefully the UK and Australia will soon follow suit. The new rules will roll back rules governing maximum duration of sea voyages and temperature restrictions, and will create new loopholes created by poor and missing legal definitions.”
Ms. Kiku added: “Europeans want meaningful change – an official EU opinion poll published in October shows that people care deeply about animal welfare. EU lawmakers must raise the level of ambition for this bill, and the results of the upcoming elections will play a key role in the final outcome of this process. EU must achieve what the people want: ban the export of live animals, and also be more ambitious in terms of limiting transport times, adjusting travel plans depending on weather conditions and stopping the transport of vulnerable animals, among other things. a measure that will bring meaningful change.”
Nine out of ten people surveyed believe it is important to protect the welfare of farm animals. The vast majority of EU citizens – 94% surveyed by the commission in 2021 and 2022 – were in favor of ending the export of live animals. Recently, more than 900,000 citizens called on the EU to ban the export of live animals through a petition created by Compassion in World Farming, FOUR PAWS, WeMove Europe and Animals International.